GiveNOLA Day: Early giving going on now! >>

Systemic Inequity Collection – Information for Scholars

For decades systemic inequality was understood as a moral issue, but it is now increasing recognized as an economic and resilience issue as well. Economic prosperity is dependent upon the ability of all racial and ethnic groups to be performing at their utmost potential and participating fully in the economy. Stark racial disparities are particularly concerning for New Orleans’ future prosperity given the high likelihood that New Orleans will continue to be majority non-white for decades to come. The constant and pervasive nature of systemic inequities makes marginalized groups less able to withstand shocks such as pandemics and economic downturns, but also daily stressors such as unaffordable housing, job loss, educational systems that inadequately prepare low-income communities for professional careers, business climates that hamper growth of minority-owned businesses, and a criminal justice system that disproportionately impacts people of color. While both protests ignited by police brutality and the tragedy of COVID-19 highlight the deep and enduring effects of systemic racism on our economy and society, they also bring into stark focus the ways in which we are interconnected. Through this collection on Systemic Inequity in New Orleans we hope to inform a future vision of New Orleans that equitably advances prosperity through rigorous, data-informed analysis.


On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. In the U.S., people of color have been disproportionately impacted by the virus and related job losses. Then, on Memorial Day, George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police catalyzed protests across every state and many parts of the world. At first blush, these events appear to be unrelated, but those who study, work to address, and/or live with racial disparities often understand how health, economic, criminal justice systems, and others are linked. Recent events have brought heightened scrutiny to longstanding problems, yet more is needed to understand both the implications and solutions to festering inequity.

Inequality and racism are increasingly recognized as conditions born out of system-level laws, policies, practices, norms, and behaviors manifesting, in part, as economic consequences that hamper growth and development of entire regions. Prior work highlighted by The New Orleans Prosperity Index, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Business Case for Racial Equity point out that generations of racially exclusive practices have greatly contributed to today’s disparities and make clear that there is a regional cost to lingering inequality.

This collection of essays on systemic inequity in New Orleans will examine specific systems, normative practices, policies, and behaviors and their relationships to historical and contemporary inequities that have created and sustained social and economic vulnerabilities for some and/or advantages for others. As leaders respond to the pandemic and calls for racial justice, it is important to identify the historical and current policies and practices that have contributed to continuing disparities across systems, and to highlight solutions that can reduce obstacles and ensure improved outcomes for all. Through this collection on Systemic Inequity in New Orleans we hope to inform a future vision of New Orleans that equitably advances prosperity through rigorous, data informed analysis.

Request for papers on systemic inequity
Systemic Inequity Collection – The Data Center and Advisory Committee bios
Neutrality in writing as a value
Systemic inequity bio and scholar list
Resources for scholars
Scholars essay guidance checklist
Scholar Presentation Template.pptx
Scholar meeting, 9/29/2020
Email instructions for scholars for peer and stakeholder reviewers


Distribute RFP8/13/2020
Advisory Committee meeting9/24/2020
Notification of abstract selection9/25/2020
Authors’ Meeting9/29/2020
First drafts due11/9/2020
Scholar practice meeting11/30 and 12/2
Formatted PPT from Scholars12/2/2020
Second Advisory Committee Meeting12/4/2020
External review/Comments due to authors11/6/2020- 12/14/2020
Final drafts due1/25/2021
Essay release schedule beginsMarch 2021